Toronto sidewalk counselor Alex Vernon went before a judge Oct. 11 to enter into a common-law peace bond, whereby the Crown withdrew charges on the condition that Vernon refrain from communicating with a Scott abortuary staff member, and not be found within 100 feet of that abortuary, located at 157 Gerrard St. East.
Defense counsel Blaise MacLean considered the peace bond an acceptable resolution to a confusing series of events that began when Vernon was arrested and strip searched on Feb. 26, while standing outside of the injunction zone surrounding the abortuary.
The criminal harassment charge laid at that time was eventually deemed unsupportable by the evidence presented by the Crown, and the justice presiding over the pre-trial proposed a common-law peace bond as preferable to proceeding to trial. MacLean made an appearance on behalf of Vernon at a later date, for the purpose of setting a date for the peace bond proceedings. At this appearance, MacLean was surprised to learn that the Crown was proceeding with the new charge “causing a disturbance.”
At the Oct. 11 hearing, the court was informed that more than six months had elapsed between the alleged incident and the date of the laying of the new charges. As the cause disturbance charge was thrown out, the peace bond was again proposed as resolution.
“It was very frustrating to have this allegation made against me,” Vernon told The Interim.
“I suspect it was part of a tactic to use criminal law to hinder our pro-life work because it was being effective. I suspect that the abortuary staff and the police knew that they did not have enough evidence to proceed with the charges but that they were satisfied in inconveniencing our efforts for six months”.
Despite the efforts to frustrate the peaceful pro-life witnessing taking place outside these abortuaries, Vernon vows to continue his life-saving work.
“We intend to continue to reach out to women in crisis pregnancy situations.”